Two are dead after a charter bus driver ignored warning signs and drove a bus full of church group members under an overpass with too little clearance for the bus.
The fatal Florida bus crash occurred on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at the Miami International Airport. Thirty-two members of the Sweetwater Kingdom Hall church were travelling to a Jehovah's Witness convention in West Palm Beach when the driver of their charter bus got lost. The driver of the charter bus ignored warning signs and drove his bus beneath an 8-foot-6 inch concrete overpass. Two passengers were killed, three were critically injured.
The overpass near the arrivals area of the airport is well-marked. A sign before the overpass says that all vehicles higher than the 8-feet 6-inches must turn left. The overpass itself is marked with a sign reading: "High Vehicle STOP Turn Left." Airport authorities say that the driver was lost and unfamiliar with the airport. The Miami bus accident remains under investigation. No charges have been filed at this time.
During the crash, several elderly passengers were thrown out of their seats and into center aisle. Eight-six-year-old Serafin Castillo of Miami died at the scene. Three people were taken to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Fifty-six-year-old Francisco Urana, also of Miami, died at the hospital. Twenty-seven others sustained injuries ranging from mild to serious. Many suffered facial injuries. Eleven passengers were taken to the trauma center. Three were treated and quickly released, the other eight required further care.
The bus is privately owned by Miami Bus Service Corporation. The company has had no violations for unsafe driving or use of controlled substances and alcohol. It received three citations concerning driver fatigue in April 2011.
Palm Beach accident attorney David Glatthorn would like to offer his sympathy and well wishes to the Sweetwater community.